The Fog (1980) – movie review

the fog 1980 pic 5

The Fog (1980)

Directed by John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill

Adrienne Barbeaumy top 10 1980s horror
Jamie Lee Curtis
Tom Atkins
Janet Leigh
Hal Holbrook

We all probably know what the story entails in The Fog, but to review it briefly, The town of Antonio Bay is cursed due to the founding father’s destruction of Captain Blake’s ship, the death of his people, and stealing his gold which is invested in the town.  On the 100th year anniversary, the spirits of Blake and his crew come back for revenge and to take back what is rightfully theirs, the crew’s gold which was melted and fashioned into a giant gold cross.

This is a great ghost story movie that begins with creepy poltergeist occurrences piercing a quiet night and builds to a crescendo of horrific The Fog dvd coverdeaths at the hands of the dead spirits. The mood and atmosphere are top notch in this film. Carpenter took a queue from the EC Horror Comics of the 50’s and fashioned it into a classic ghost tale of American Gothic Horror.

One of the creepiest scenes to me is the attack on the fishing boat, when the fishermen come up from below and see stoic figures standing in the fog on the bow of the ship.

The mystery of what these shadowy figures look like, the lack of details, makes it scarier then fully shown ghost images. Quite often the only thing in clear view are the hooks that these ghouls are holding in their shriveled hands. The whole sequence with Mrs. Kobritz, the babysitter at the house was tense, a prime example of Carpenter’s mastery of suspense.

Carpenter once again crafts a wonderful score for the film including the creepy main theme. You can hear it below in the video. I had purchased the film soundtrack and play it often during our Halloween activities.

What most people don’t realize about the film are the multitude of references and homage’s to other horror icons in it. I point out a few in the Fun Facts.

FOG, THE - Silver Ferox Design WEBFun Facts:

Tom Atkins’ character mentions Bodega Bay, which was the setting of The Birds (1963).

On the radio, a search for the lost fishing boat is mentioned – the radio voice names, Waitely Point and Arkham Reef as points being searched. Both are frequently used titles, (one a name, the other a place) in stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

Carpenter and Hill were inspired to write this after a trip to Stonehenge and seeing the ancient ruin shadowed in thick fog. Another strong influence on the story was The Trollenberg Terror (1958).

When water from the ships nameplate spills on the cassette deck at the radio station, the tape says, “like an albatross around the neck,” a quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The coroner in the film is named Dr. Phibes, an obvious nod to the Vincent Price films, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Returns.

The part of Father Malone was originally offered to Christopher Lee, but he was unable to clear his schedule for the shoot.

This film brought mother and daughter horror stars together in a film, Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween). Both owe much of their success to the popularity of the horror films they had stared in.

Carpenter’s Main Theme for The Fog:

This ‘Making of The Fog’ video is about a half hour long:

Now Showing, On the Big screen, One night only…

godzilla 1954 pic 3
If a Movie Theater near you decided to show a Classic Horror film on Halloween Night, what film would you want them to show?

Last year a theater near me decided to show an old classic on Halloween night – That Classic was John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy hit a few days prior and most of us had no power, including the theater. Don’t know if they are going to do that again this year because of the bad turn out from last year. But, I hope so!

Okay, so here’s the question, what movie would you like to see on the big screen?

To make it interesting, let’s make it a double feature.

To qualify as classic, the film has to be at least 25 years old. You can pick something that you have never seen in a theater or something you had seen in a theater when you were young and would like to capture that feeling again.

My picks are:

Gojira (1954)
Imagine seeing Big-G on the big screen with the sound systems they have in theaters today? They could even add a little reverb in the scenes when Godzilla attacks the city to get the theater walls rumbling.
godzilla 1954 pic 2 Godzilla 1954 pic 1

The Fog (1980)
Hopefully, in William Castle fashion, they would have a fog machine in the theater and every time the fog showed on screen, they would blow fog up the theater aisles, too!
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So, what are your ‘Halloween night at the theater’ film picks?

Let me know in the comments…

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Reader’s choices:

Brian from Hard Ticket to Home Video picks:
The Shining (1980) & Jaws 3 in 3D (1983)
the-shining-1 the_shining_02
jaws 3 in 3d pic 3 JAWS 3D sans logo

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Eric from The IPC wants to see:
Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th part II
friday the 13th 1980 friday the 13th 1980 pic 1
friday-the-13th-part-2 fridaythe13th part 2 (1981)

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Xenolicker picks Evil Dead 2
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Wonderinggrace would like to see 13 Ghosts and The Exorcist
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the exorcist pic 4

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Fringevoid picks, Phantasm and Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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Texas Chain Saw Massacre texas chainsaw massacre pic 2

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BeerMovie wants An American Werewolf in London followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street
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freddy and nancy

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Mark from Lasers, Monsters and Barbarians oh, my! picked a Universal classic, Creature From the Black Lagoon, and a lesser known Hammer film, Vampire Circus.

creature-black-lagoon pic 2 creature-from-the-black-lagoon-pic 1
vampire circus pic 2 vampire circus pic 3

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Who’s next?

The Horror Movie Watcher… peeves part II

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The Horror Movie Watcher… peeves part IIlord of rings
MORE things that annoy me:
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What’s in a name? part I –

The never ending sequel parade. Few sequels are as good as the original. Some franchises work well as a series of movies: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, James Bond, etc. Some do not, but that doesn’t stop Hollywood from riding the cash cow into the dirt. (Halloween, Wrong Turn, Pumpkinhead, Children of the Corn, Hellraiser, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm) Just say NO! to lousy sequels.

friday-the-13th-part-9 children corn nightmare elm part 6
pumpkinhead 4 wrong turn 5 halloween 5

What’s in a name? part II –

The never ending remake parade. I can see doing a remake if a film was shot on a low budget, was in B&W, or is over 50 years old and can really benefit from an update. War of the Worlds, Ghost Ship, Willard, The Blob, and The Thing (1982), all benefited from remakes. Most movies do not. Some actually infuriated me: The Fog, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Haunting, Carnival of Souls, and Fright Night, are all unwatchable remakes. And, I won’t even mention Evil Dead 2013 again.

the-fog-orig-remake nightmare-elm-street-1 the-haunting fright-night

Tired old themes-

There are some film ideas that should be put to rest forever. Three Musketeers. Tarzan. Dick Tracy. Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Bonnie & Clyde to name a few. Early in film history, these were very popular subjects and each had several films of varying success on them. It is  – over – for these subjects. Every few years someone in Hollywood tries to resurrect these franchises. Adults would rather watch the old films and kids are not interested in these themes anymore – give ‘em up! (Although, I must say, I thought it was over for swashbuckling Pirate movies too and I was proved wrong). I would certainly put The Lone Ranger into this category. We will see if the star power of Johnny Depp can pull this tired old theme out of retirement.

DickTracyTopMedia_630 tarzan_weismuller flash-gordon-movie-2 threemusketeers pic 2 musketeers dick tracy tarzanfamily_2349266k bonnie & clyde

QUESTION:
So, what tired, cliché, overused and abused themes and subjects do you think should be put to rest?

The Scariest Ghosts in Movies – my top 10 list

The Top 10 Scariest Ghosts in Movies & film
These are my picks for the top 10 scary ghosts I’ve seen in movies and films. I’m talking about physical manifestations of ghosts, not necessarily the best ghost story or haunted house flicks.
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1) The Twins – The Shining (1980 – Stanley Kubrick)
Who knows what makes these twins so scary – they just are. They don’t really do anything, they just stand there with their creepy stares and creepy blue dresses.
  
 
Not so creepy all grow’d up!

2) Samara – The Ring (2002 – Gore Verbenas)
Another creepy little girl, but this one comes right off the screen at you.
  
  
Who is this pleasant young lady…What? No! She’s the actress that played Samara?

3) Blake and his Crew – The Fog (1980 – John Carpenter)
Damn, creeps with hooks that come in the cover of fog. It gives me the chills.
 
  

4) The Jackal – Thirteen Ghosts (2001 – Steve Beck)
If ever there was a character in a film that should get a movie made about him, The Jackal is it. What are the studios waiting for? People even get tattoos of this character!
 
   
5) Jilted Lover – The Grave Dancers (2006 – Mike Mendez)
Imagine rolling over in bed expecting your wife or lover and seeing her instead… I would have a heart failure instantly.
 
  

6) The Headless Horseman – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1999 – Tim Burton)
Just the idea of a headless spirit is chilling. Add to that, he runs you down on horseback, wields a sword, and in life he was a Hessian assassin. Plus, he takes your head with him when he leaves.
 
  

7) Kane, the Preacher – Poltergeist II (1986 – Brian Gibson)
If this creepy old guy with the thick southern accent came to talk to me and it rained the whole time, just on him, I’d be outta’ there.
  
  

8) The Knights – Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972 – Amando de Ossorio)
These skeletal dead ones from castle ruins in Portugal are rumored to be The Knights of Templar. The film never explicitly states that, it just hints at it. Turned upon by the church, the knights look for new sacrifices to keep them in the here and now.
 
  

9) Dead guy – The Sentinel (1977 – Michael Winner)
After midnight a fashion model’s building turns into spook central as dead spirits wonder through her apartment. The scariest part is when this blind old guy comes stumbling through, bumping into walls and unable to find his way.
 
 

10) Drowned wife – Dream Cruise – Masters of Horror – (2007 – Norio Tsuruta)
Just when you thought you’ve seen enough J-horror woman ghosts comes the lovely Naomi, murdered wife in this MOH episode. What makes her so damn eerie are her strange movements – a rolling of the head and twisting of the body that mirrors seaweed in the waves and tides of the sea. The actress (Miho Ninagawa) must be commended for her portrayal in this film.
 
  

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Before I go on, I would like to mention that Tombs of the Blind Dead and The Fog sometimes show up on people’s Zombie lists. I believe that in both films; the entities are spirits of the dead, are conscious entities, and are only using their former bodies to affect the physical world. They are not zombies.
     

Here are more reasons why neither film is a zombie film:
*In both films the entities make conscious decisions about who to kill and why.
*In both films the entities have no need to eat the victims, nor do the victims ‘catch’ a virus that transforms them into zombies.
*In both films the entities are called upon at certain times in curse and ritual fashion, then become dormant, waiting the next ‘witching hour’.
– And finally, especially for Tombs of the Blind Dead:
*If an entity chooses to ride the horse instead of eat it, it’s not a zombie.
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Honorable mentions go to:

The Boy – the Devil’s Backbone

Burlap-sack head – The Orphanage

The Woman – The Woman in Black

The Beach Lovers – Creepshow

The Parasite – Insidious

Mary Shaw from Dead Silence

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Dead woman from Black Sabbath

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If you have any other ideas of ghosts that should be included here, let me know. I’ll add them to the Honorable Mentions list.